Mary died today at 12:30 pm except for that last sigh, which is not really a breath anyway. It went well for Mary and me because we kept strangers to a minimum and friends to a maximum. We were surrounded by friends, who are empathic, smart and creative people. Mary continued to make friends her entire life even up to three weeks ago.
Having known Mary for my whole life, I never thought of her as contrary. In the last years of her life she became fond of reciting limericks and rhymes which contained her name specifically, "Mary Mary quite contrary." Maybe, the sound of "Mary" spoken in her own voice and heard with her own ears added some solidity to her being as her being was slipping away.
Kay was on the phone. We were talking in the overlapping intersection between business and personal. She asked about my mother. She always does. She asked about me. She always does, and always after she’s got my mother’s status down. Kay is not a caregiver now but she knows a lot of them professionally.
I reached Don as he was leaving the hospital. “No,” he said, in response to my question of: did she make it. I didn’t need a question mark after the statement. There was no question about surviving a cardiac resuscitation on the dementia unit of a nursing home.
Martha was a serial caregiver. She took care of her parents on a sliding scale, first her father while her mother was still in charge, and then barely taking a breath, she took care of her mother who really didn't need much at first.
Without knowing it at the time Mark became his mother's caregiver when his grandmother died and his mother’s job as caregiver therefore ended. He moved up closer, one potential rung, by family example. Back then it was just a reminder, nothing to the job description yet, after all he had an older sister and Mark's mother took care of herself.